Learning to read is incredibly important, but not always easy. It is possible to help your
child become a proficient reader without tears! Try some of these activities the next time
you are reading with your child. By infusing a few fun elements, you can help your child
develop a love of reading, promote crucial reading skills and practice reading
comprehension. Everyone will enjoy these quick games and benefit from reduced
Try only a few of these at a time and be sure to keep the sessions short. This is
especially important if you have a reluctant reader. If you stop while it's fun, your child
will be eager to participate again next time.
BEFORE READING A NEW STORY TRY:
A book walk
Look through the pictures in the story. Ask your child to predict who the
story is about, what they think happens and how it ends. After you've read the story,
discuss how close the predictions were.
WHILE READING A FAMILIAR STORY TRY:
Pretend to begin reading the book upside down or backwards. Your child
will notice your mistake and exclaim, "It's upside down!" and promptly show you the
Your child can practice tracking the words on the page at different
speeds as you read aloud quickly or sloooowly. See how well your child can keep up!
Read aloud to your child, while making some "silly" mistakes. You can
mispronounce words, call the characters by the wrong name, or insert the wrong sight
words. See if your child notices and corrects you! This is a great way to test your child's
reading comprehension, redirect focus, or check auditory listening skills.
If you have some puppets on hand, reread the story using character
voices. Using dramatically silly, squeaky, scary, loud, or quiet voices adds an element of
fun and brings the book to life! When you
ʼre done reading, put on a puppet show to
reenact the story.
Replace the character names to those of friends and family. Those
present can take turns reading "their part".
Many easy readers provide repetitive and predictable text. When you come
upon a familiar line, pause and allow your child to complete the line aloud.
AFTER READING A FAMILIAR STORY TRY:
Sight word search
Choose familiar sight words from the story and ask your child to
point them out. Say, "Show me the word, the."
Ask your child to circle a familiar letter from the text. Say, "Circle the
letter 'b' with your finger."
Ask your child to show you a period, exclamation mark, or
question mark by pointing, or circling with an index finger.
Retell the story
Let your child retell the story in his or her own words. Using the
pictures as clues is helpful, especially for younger readers. If your child forgets
important story events, be sure to go back and reread.
EASY PRE-READING SKILLS GAMES
Letter Sounds Dance
Put some upper and lower case letters on index cards. Assign a
movement to each letter. For example: c = clap, d = dance, h = hop, t = tap, r = run.
Turn on the music while flashing the cards! Remember to end with s = sit!
This is easy enough to play in the car! Say the sounds of a two to
three letter word like: c-a-t. Your child hears the sounds and blends them into "cat".
This game is the opposite of blending. Say a two to three letter
word aloud like: dog. Your child hears the word and breaks it into sounds, d-o-g.
See how many words your child can generate when you start with a
rhyming word like: mail, snail, pail, or sing, king, ring, etc. Write them down and count
how many you found!
Find words, signs, or product packaging that your child
recognizes. You may be surprised that your child can read "stop" from a stop sign, or
point out "Cheerios" on the store shelf. You can also create a book by cutting out and
gluing words that your child recognizes.
A great way to check your child's reading comprehension is to let him or
her sequence the story events. If you have an old picture book, remove it from the spine
and allow your child to put the pages in order (fewer pages for younger children and
more for older children). Also, you can cut apart a familiar comic strip and have your
child put it in the correct order.
Your older child may enjoy a family game night that comprises of
reading and spelling games such as Scrabble, Upwords, MadLibs, or crossword
Create a list of items for your child to find and collect. Younger
children should receive simpler words and older children, more complex words.
Create a list of needed items from the store. Give your child the list to
read and check off as you complete your shopping. Ask your child to double-check the
list...you don't want to forget the milk!
Put age-appropriate words on slips of paper and hide them in a paper bag.
After your child reads the word, he or she can act it out. Children love to be animals,
family members, or favorite cartoon characters! Another fun way to play is to put verbs
on the slips of paper such as: run, walk, and jump.
. A good old-fashioned game of hangman is fun for all! Feel free to omit the
noose and just build a person, or snowman! Your child will enjoy guessing the correct
letters before running out of time, and will practicing critical thinking skills!
Children need to read out of necessity, but we want them to enjoy it, too! Use your
imagination to bring reading to life. Use these tips to show your child that reading is fun
and watch his or her motivation and desire to read increase!
Julie Rebboah has been a professional educator since 1998. She has been an Early Reading Intervention instructor, an English language development teacher, and a private tutor. Julie wrote Magic Letters; The Keys to the World of Words and Magic Words; Discovering the Adventure of Reading out of a need to provide materials to support and extend learning in her diverse classroom. http://www.lightningbuglearning.com